Morning Market Shopkeepers help tsunami victim fellow for her return

By Kikki - Last updated: 火曜日, 4月 12, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

[From Ofunato city-my stricken home town]

-East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Disaster-

Sakari-kimachi morning Fair restarted

Ms. Ito and her regular customers make sure of each life escaped from the tsunami

Ms. Chiyoo Niinuma (84) has held her roadside stand at the morning fair in Sakari town, Ofunato city in 65 years. She mainly sells oyster and cuttlefish at the Sakari-kimachi Morning Fair. The grate tsunami washed her house away and she has been forced to live in the temporary shelter. Although, she almost gave up her business, her fellow shoppers at the market supported her come back. ‘I’m glad to open my stall here again! I just say thanks a lot.’ She said at her roadside stand on April 10.

Just before the tsunami rushed into, she ran up from her house in the seaside, where she lived alone, to the high grand and could save her life. She lost her home at the 1960 Great Chilean earthquake, but she could quickly rebuild it with her husband and come back to the market five months later. This time, however, she had almost given up, because of her old age and her condition of living alone. On April 5, the morning fair was held that was second times after the disaster. She visited the fair and saw one of her old friends who also selling seafood on her street stall over 10 years. She kindly talked to her. ‘Was you alive? That’s good!’ ‘But I lost my house.’ Ms. Niinuma confided to her. Ms. Ito expressed her sympathy for Ms. Niimuma, and then encouraged. ‘Let’s stick it out!’ Ms. Niinuma was dying to restart her stall again while seeing around other stall keepers.

However, she lost all her document including phone number of suppliers. She wondered and finally decided to ask Ms. Ito.  ‘Although, she is one of my competitors in the same market, she was welling to help me.’ Ms. Niinuma was choked with tears for her kindness. ‘We must overcome the disaster. Reconstruction of the town shall begin from here.’ That is watchword of all shopkeepers in the morning fair.

Ms. Ito and other fellow shopkeepers are planning to help purchasing of seafood for Ms. Niinuma, because she is still living in the temporary shelter. ‘We, everybody in the market organize and run business together. Therefore ‘Kinu-chan’ a nickname of Ms. Ito, helped me. Although we are not living together whole day, she and I get along very well with each other. We are such company.’ Ms. Niinuma spoke with deep feeling.


The Sakari-kimachi Morning Fair

8-18 Kimachi, Sakari town, Ofunato city, Iwate, Japan 

‘It’s a good bargain, a good bargain!’ ‘Give you a discount, buy it!’ Conversational give-and-take with a local accent is heard here and there. Perishable mountain products and marine products are usually exchangeable among shopkeepers when they left in the stalls unsold. Old and trusted shopkeepers attend the marketplace hum on the days of the morning fair.

The Sakari-kimachi Morning Fair celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The morning fairs are held on days of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 every month at the street along the shopping district in about 100 meters long. Usually various kinds of seafood is on sale. It was closed just one day when the 1960 Great Chilean earthquake occurred. A sequence of three market days on March 15, 20, and 25 were closed this time.


View Kimachi Morning Fair in a larger map

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